Ash versus Elm

Elm and Ash, both big broadleaved trees that produce big woodgrain in boards.

ash wood solid floor and scottish elm dinig table made for our stand at decorexThis picture shows an English Ash bespoke wood floor and wide Scottish Elm dining table made by Simon Thomas Pirie furniture makers for our HIllgrove Timber stand at Decorex 2021.

One of these beautiful timbers is robust and tough and one is too sweet and gentle for it’s own good. Guess which is which?


The Combilift C4000 likes Elm

We like to keep big boules like this Sottish Elm intact for as long as possible.

there's a boule of Elm on it's way down on the combilift

It’s helps us keep track of special boards and it helps our makers because they can match boards, grain, colour and provenance for special projects.

We used to have to leave these precious boules at ground level but now we can swing them round and store them up in the gods, out of harms way – and by that we mean out of the workshop’s way. No ripping these boards for a cutting list than you very much workshop!

Thank goodness the combilift likes big, heavy lumpy stuff and small spaces.


See our Elm stock online
You want a Combilift C4000 now don’t you… here you go.

The Timber Rack’s got gnarly Elm

This gnarly little Elm ‘lump’ is a slice taken off the round pre-milling so that the log can lay securely on the dogs (sawmill speak).

We call them cover boards.

We keep them aside and use them to cover the main boule once it’s been cut. That way we keep the whole log intact right through the drying process.  Because they sit on the outside they usually get a beating from the weather. If they’re thin they don’t survive well. If they’re chunky like this little beast then they do brilliantly. (more…)

119 First Cuts of Burr Elm

When we put a log on the bandsaw there’s always a decision  to make about what the first cut will be. This first piece sawn for purely practical reasons, making a flat surface for the rest of the log to sit on the dogs* safely and securely without rolling around.

We are bound by the laws of sawmilling to think about how our customers will use the wood from the logs we saw so we make our choice based on the best possible use of the log and sadly, that requires a sacrifice.

Decisions, decisions.

Will it be best as 41 or 65 mm for joinery use or should it be 54mm for worktops and table tops? (more…)


watch videos about Elm trees and timber

Elm is an uncommon tree and an even less common timber.

We source extraordinary quality logs from trees that have grown in well the managed woodlands of northern England and the Scottish borders where Elm trees still grow healthily.

Our Elm wood is usually big.

It’s extraordinary.

The trees have grown through maturity and are hand felled as part of active management plans. As a chartered forester Tom, our MD, travels to meet other forest managers to carefully select logs from trees that are nominated for felling.

The process involves assessment of ground conditions, climate and other environmental factors that would affect the quality of the timber.

The colouring of Elm wood is dull brown with distinctive varied grain and texture, can have pip and burr. Elm has striking contrasting sap is seen as attractive quality. can be difficult to work with, binds on saw, picks up on planing. resistant to treatment but will take glue, stain, polish. A slightly durable and fairly strong timber with medium moisture movement.


Use the links in our menu to explore the extensive STOCK or to GET A QUOTE



More about Elm from the Wood Blog

Find more Wood Species data on TRADA’s website

Forest Research on Elm & Dutch Elm disease





Wood Knowledge: An Introduction to Ash

A forester’s story of Ash, the tree and the timber, as the most important species in our native woodland canopy.

Recognised by foresters throughout Europe as the Venus of the Woods but threatened with a disease that might erase it from our landscape, Ash is holding it’s own… for now.

In this video Tom, our MD and chartered forest manager at English Woodlands Forestry, gives us the background on Ash trees and the timber we’re so fond of.


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